Poem 8 - Emlen Etting

Rental Format(s): Digital File

Maker: Emlen Etting
Original format: 16mm silent film 1.37:1
Featuring Elizabeth Binney Montgomery, Agnes Hitchcock, Caresse Crosby
New music: Rodney Sauer

Emlen Etting's ciné-poem was "conceived directly in the language of visual symbols in action." He wanted the expressive hand-held cinematography to represent an invisible observer. A painter by training, his methodology was to "always be willing to make mistakes for the ardent desire to transcend."-Bruce Posner

I thought, how interesting it would be if we used the film in a different method. So far it had been used like a novel to tell a story, or else as a documentary and there was nothing else in between, and I wanted to use the film as a poetic medium, to do a poem like T.S. Eliot's poems, and do it entirely visually and that's how I came about to do my film I called 'Poem 8' and as far as I know it was the first film that experimented in that as a poetic medium. -Emlen Etting

Etting was a pioneer who created cinematic forms that embodied poetic belief. This film represents a quest for an intensified perception of everyday life. Combining subjectivity, allegory, and lyric, Poem 8 foreshadows a method of filmmaking that would only be pursued by others a decade and a half later. -R. Bruce Elder

Mr. Etting's own film is still uncut, therefore is hard to discuss. He has excellent camera work, as in shots of outdoor dancing staged by Mary Binney Montgomery. He shows excellent eye for masses, has a liking for silhouette, pays not too much attention to his lightings. Curiously enough, his camera feels most at home in the countryside away from the artificial. He has caught natural rhythms, such as the wind going in waves over a grass field. It is the type of thing that the professional camera never notes. -Eric M. Knight, The Philadelphia Ledger

Emlen Etting (1905-1993) was a Philadelphia Main Line society-born painter, sculptor, scholar of French literature, and book illustrator. His figurative paintings and drawings depict the loneliness of modernity and the extravagance of nature. Etting illustrated works by Paul Valéry and Franz Kafka, among others. His three films produced before 1940 are milestones of poetic filmmaking. -R. Bruce Elder

Rental Fees

Digital File $75.00  

Rent this Film